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Why Body Theology?

In an age when we can transplant blood and organs from one person to another in order to bring life; when people’s bodies can be augmented by artificial means; when a person’s sex can be altered; when beings can be cloned; when heterosexual and patriarchal understandings of the body are breaking down, issues of bodily identity worry us and yet in an age when aesthetics appears to have largely replaced metaphysics,

the body seems to be all we have

(even, as [Sarah] Coakley notes, as it disappears on the internet). The body matters and so it is little wonder that a distinctive genre of theology known as body theology has developed.  But in truth

Christian theology has always been an embodied theology rooted in creation, incarnation and resurrection, and sacrament. 

Christian theology has always applied both the analogia entis (analogy of being) and the analogia fidei (analogy of faith) to the body.

The body is both the site and the recipient of revelation.

– Lisa Isherwood and Elizabeth Stuart, Introducing Body Theology (p. 10-11), emphasis added

Body theology — holistic body theology — is about knowing who we are in Christ and allowing that identity to inform the way we see ourselves, the way we interact with others who share the same identity, and the way we interact with the world as a whole.

Having a healthy relationship with our bodies informs the way we relate to ourselves, to God, and to each other. 

When we are free from the lies we receive and internalize, we are able to enter into the fullness of life God has promised and live in the already as whole, redeemed, holy people of God.

I write this blog because I need to be reminded every day that my body is good, has been redeemed, and is an inextricable and irremovable part of the way God speaks to me and uses me in the world for God’s good purpose.

I write this blog because I have met so many other people who struggle just like I do to live a little more in the already and recognize the sacred in ourselves and all around us.

I write this blog because we are not made to be alone.  We do not walk this journey alone.  Your comments, Facebook messages, and emails continually inspire, encourage, and challenge me.

Keep thinking.  Keep sharing.  Keep walking with me.  Let’s walk together slowly, faithfully into the freedom God has promised.

Reflections on Body Theology: 10 Lies I Believe about My Body

1) I’m not pretty.

2) Even with makeup, I’m not pretty.

3) I need to lose weight.

4) I have too much hair in the wrong places.

5) I am responsible for how men react to the way I look.

6) Dressing in clothes that aren’t baggy is immodest.

7) Showing my legs or arms is immodest.

8) I should be ashamed of myself for wanting to look pretty.

9) My husband is not really attracted to me.

10) I’m not feminine enough.

What is Body Theology?

Body theology is traditionally used to refer to body image and sexuality; however, I believe a true body theology is much more holistic, involving not only what we look like (physicality) but who we are as human beings (identity) and what we do with our bodies (community and service).

Holistic body theology is four-fold: sexuality/physicality, cultural discernment/media literacy, community, and service. Topics covered on this blog will stem from one of these categories, always with the underlying principle belief that our bodies were made good and, though corrupted by the fall, have been redeemed through Christ.

Holistic body theology, then, is based on the incarnation of Christ: God took on flesh, not merely the appearance of flesh; God lived and suffered and died—and rose again!—in the actual, fleshly sense. Likewise, we are both corporeal (bodily) and spiritual beings.  My goal is to encourage Christians to realize our true identity in Christ, free ourselves from bondage to the lies that can be perpetuated through culture, and be empowered to enter into the redemption Christ offers both for our bodies and how we use them in the world. I believe that as we grow in knowledge and discernment, we can redeem both the way we see ourselves and the way we interact with culture–and enjoy living in freedom in the space where the sacred and secular blur into messy, surprising beauty.

Come join me on this journey toward healthy, holy living.

Image: farconville / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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